Monday, May 2, 2011

Why I Wear Dresses #1

~our two little ladies about 11 years ago


I seldom discuss apparel. It can be such a touchy subject. But people ask questions once in a while, and so I plan to do some posts on the topic. I won't cover every thought or answer every question in this first post. You can come back later for more if it is interesting or helpful to you.

Here are some questions people ask:
Why do you wear dresses all the time? Why does it matter what you wear? Doesn't God look on the heart? Does your religion make you wear dresses all the time? Do you think everyone should dress like you do? Is it a sin if I (as a woman) wear pants?

From the time I was born, my parents chose to dress me in dresses, skirts and blouses, jumpers and t-shirts, anything that resembled the obvious female representation which is commonly seen on ladies public bathroom doors.

I attended public school all 17 years of classroom education, and I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I was asked, "Why do you always wear dresses?"

Somewhere during those early years, I learned that Deuteronomy 22:5 said women shouldn't wear what pertained unto men, and I was taught that this showed God desired a clear distinction between male and female. That verse served me well for a few years while I was too young to understand anything other than law, black and white, clear-cut right and wrong.

Around 6th grade--those tumultuous junior high years--I started getting responses like, "Well, men wore robes back then. Women and men both wore robes. Now, how do you explain that?" And, "You are judging!" I still vividly recall coming onto the school campus after lunch break one day, and as I climbed out of our big blue and white van, I heard some girl laughing and chanting, "Here comes the judge!"

I probably don't need to tell you school wasn't my favorite place during those years.

However, when I was about 12, the experience I had gained and the character that was beginning to be forged into my young heart began to take root. I began to see that this Christianity thing was something you had to be pretty serious about or you might as well not bother with it at all. I began to understand that when Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow Me," His words really meant something.

Thankfully, I chose to become serious about Him, and even my responses to the kids who asked me why I wore dresses changed. (Amazingly, they didn't ask very often after this point. I became respected and admired--you see, my attitude had changed.)

Many years have passed now. I continue to learn.

I take Christianity more and more seriously with each passing year.

Recently, I read a couple of verses in Numbers and was reminded of the reason God had the Israelites wear fringes or tassels on the corners of their garments.

The verses in Numbers say:
And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring:
That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.
(Num 15:39-40 KJV)

It hit me how much I have benefited from bearing the reproach of always being different, and of being forced throughout my entire lifetime to find my value outside the approval of others. I realized how choosing to dress ladylike and modestly (yet another Biblical principle) causes me to constantly remember.

"That ye may remember..." God told the Israelites! What a blessing my parents gave me! They instilled a mechanism to help me remember, to take seriously my Creator's desires for me!

I was blessed all those years and continue to see deeper depths of that blessing.

Thank YOU, Abba! (and Daddy and Mother!)

30 comments:

  1. I love this. You're so wonderful. So glad I know you. :)

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  2. I was raised like this and to this day still wear dresses/skirts. It is very sad to see ladies that were raised to honor God in their apparel, choose to turn away from the reproach and take the way of the world. God Bless, Nicki

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  3. Wonderful post!! Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts! So often it seems people forget, or just never learn, the reasons for the way we dress the way we do. Not because some human tells us to, but because we wish to honor God and to honor His commands.
    Blessings!

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  4. I also was raised conservative holiness and wore only skirts and dresses. I went to public school and was asked many questions as well. However, I am no longer conservative holiness. I have never had the LORD speak to me about pants. I have heard a lot of preaching about it and been told by people, but never from God. Let me say, I do believe that God expects us to look like ladies. I believe that the basic principle here in this scripture (Deuteronomy 22:5) is there should be a distinction between men and women. As it seems to have been a problem in those days. I do not believe that this scripture is saying that it is a sin for a woman to wear pants. In today's culture women wear pants and you can tell a difference. I have seen women in men's pants (and boys in girls) and it is very obvious. However, I have never been mistaken for a man in my pants. There is nothing manly about them - or immodest - might I add. Let me say, I have seen some long skirts that are not at all feminine. I have also seen some women's pants that are not exactly feminine either. It is about choices. I choose to look like a lady whatever I wear - whether it be a skirt or pants. I believe that is what God teaches. I think it would serve us better if we teach the basic principles of modesty and femininity. If we all had not been raised or influenced in the chm, I wonder how many of us would have read this scripture and gathered that pants are a sin. I think we would be surprised how many of us that the Holy Spirit has convicted us of pants. I tend to think that we are influenced more by the people that we associate ourselves with more so than by allowing God to deal with us about these sorts of issues. As Nicki has said about "turning away the reproach". May I say that stepping away from the holiness standards is NOT an easy thing. I have felt the reproach from the people who were the closest to me - conservative holiness people. This has been very difficult. Much harder than going out to the store or having neighbors ask why I wear skirts. These people were a huge part of my life. Another thought along these lines is.....these were not junior high classmates...these are adults that reproach those who do not agree with them. This is sad to me. Let me say again...this is not easy. The only thing that has changed about me is my standards. I still believe in biblical principles - things that are black and white. I only wish that more people in the chm would be more accepting of those who do not see things exactly the same way that they do about standards. We write them off as "worldly". It seems that the chm has more respect for amish folks or fundamentalist Baptists than those who share their own doctrine - while The only thing that these may have in common with the chm is the standards. Thanks for allowing me to share a few of my thoughts here.

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  5. CORRECTION - I think we would be surprised how many of us that the Holy Spirit has NEVER convicted us of pants.

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  6. Meghan, you bring a happy smile to my face.

    Nicki and Charity, What a joy to get your comments and to "meet" kindred spirits. Thank you.

    Anonymous,
    Thank you for joining the conversation. I know there are other people who have taken the path you describe.
    You are actually responding to one of the questions I listed but have not yet addressed. (Is it a sin for a woman to wear pants?) So, I will only be brief here, because I am working on future posts which will address more on this topic.
    You describe the changes you made as “very difficult…much harder” than before you changed. I’m truly sorry for the hurt you’ve experienced. Can you help me understand what caused you to feel that changing was worth it?

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  7. Thanks for you reply, Laura. My main reason for making these changes was: I realized that I had to make a choice...I was either going to keep pleasing people or I was going to please the Lord. I felt like God was leading me away from being bound by others' personal convictions and failing to embrace the freedom that I have in Christ. I could not give a true answer for not wearing pants - as is culturally acceptable. I feel that some of the conservative holiness people focus more on what I would call "personal convictions" more than the absolutes (modesty, etc).

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  8. Laura;

    I enjoyed this post, thanks for tackling a topic that may bring you more reproach before it's all said and done. :)

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  9. Dear Anonymous,
    I have no idea who you are, so you must realize I have nothing personal against you. I am in a lifetime study of humanity—including myself. I seek to understand and promote understanding. What I write has to do with ideas, concepts, thought- processes which all of us humans are prone to. I am going to say some things that I would want said to me if I were you. (In fact, these sorts of things have been said to me, and I’ve grown from listening. I'm deeply grateful.)

    First of all, I am fully aware there are problems in every human organization--including the CHM. We obviously are not in heaven yet, so we have no right to expect a perfect world. I too have been quilty of expecting perfection out of an organization that has touted "perfect heart", "perfect love" as their foundation. I've learned that that expectation is not realistic.

    I truly am sorry if you suffered injustice or unkindness while you were a part of the CHM. There is no reason for any of us to be unkind. Unfortunately, I am certain you will experience unkindness in this life no matter with what or with whom you choose to associate.

    Secondly, we all have to continually make decisions. Doing and justifying what we "naturally" want to do is almost as easy as breathing. However, if we follow the "natural" wants, there is no hope of coming to truth. We end up creating our own “truth” to our own eventual destruction. (For the one who sows to his own flesh [natural self] shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the spirit shall from the spirit reap eternal life. ~Gal 6:8 NAS)

    You say, “conservative holiness people focus more on what" you "would call ‘personal convictions’…than the absolutes,” but you also say, the reason you changed was because of a personal conviction, of “God…leading” you “away…” If it is wrong for others to base their decisions or focus on ‘personal convictions,’ it’s wrong for you as well. Now, I am not making a statement as to the wrongness or rightness of focusing on personal convictions. I’m just pointing out that you stated it was wrong for them but then did the very same.

    You write, “I could not give a true answer for not wearing pants -as is culturally acceptable.” Why would you need to or want to? The world doesn’t understand spiritual things. It’s “foolishness” to them. (1 Cor. 1:18.) The only reason I would feel I had to give the world an answer (in this context) is if I were in bondage to their ‘convictions’ of what is right, i.e. wanting their approval.

    Did the freedom you took (to wear pants) really matter that much that you were willing to give up standing relationships?

    When it all comes down to the bottom line, we do what we want. Every one of us. (It's that will we all have. What will we do with it? is the question.)

    I have surrendered my will and embraced the will of God, and with the Apostle Paul, "I die daily" (1Co 15:31)to the "natural" desires of my flesh. Therefore, I want meaningful relationships with people who value the Word of God and seek to live a life devoted to God’s eternal purposes. I do not seek the approval of the world at large; the Bible clearly communicates the pitfall of such.

    There are certainly freedoms I could take if I wanted to. New Testament Christianity is clearly not built on a “to-do-list.” (All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. 1Co 6:12) But I have learned it is never good to choose to do something I simply prefer at the expense of cutting off meaningful relationships.

    I pray you will take this as I mean it; only to help, not hurt.

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  10. wow, I just left a nice long comment and it got deleted when I tried to go "back"....wow...frustrating..I am up against a meeting and will have to write more when I have time. Great discussion going though.

    Dave Dice

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  11. So sorry it got deleted, Dave. Hope you have time to come back and try again.

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  12. My answer is so long I'll have to break it up into several parts, they might be on your wall backwards, this is MY COMMENT PART 1:
    Hi Laura! Since I was raised in the CHM and growing up we always wore skirts/dresses/jumpers but I now also wear pants I'm going to give my thoughts - even though you know me, I'm not sure if the others who have left comments do or not, but I think you know me well enough that I'll be very okay with any responses I get from you or anyone else who cares to respond to my comments. "-) And for everyone who reads these please know that even though you can't hear someone or see their emotions or facial expressions while you are reading their words my words are all meant with kindndess, absolutely no harshness or anger or animosity in a single word.

    First I'd like to address this statement from another commenter, "It is very sad to see ladies that were raised to honor God in their apparel, choose to turn away from the reproach and take the way of the world." Not all of us who believe differently about the way we were raised in regards to standards are taking the way of the world. I'm taking the way of serving God, just as you are, always have, always will. There are many, many people who have standards that differ from the "norm" of those in the CHM who are not taking the way of the world - both those who grew up in it and those who didn't. Yes, we've all seen people who seem to go off the deep end and suddenly nothing is wrong and everything is okay but for many of us, we are living our lives for God, we just don't believe exactly like our parents in regards to some standards. If there's one thing I've learned as an adult it's that I don't know nearly as much as I think I do and the only person I need to be worrying about is myself and where I stand in my relationship with Christ. I don't need to worry about what anyone else is doing because I've got my hands full right here. I've always realized that when I'm looking around me and "sizing" up others by their appearance/lifestyle then I'm losing my focus on what is important - my own personal relationship with Christ. I believe it's one of satan's strongest tools - get our eyes off ourselves and get it on others.

    (continued in another comment)

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  13. My comment Part 2:
    Within the CHM you would be hardpressed to find two people who believe exactly the same on every standard/lifestyle issue. Hair - cut or never cut, makeup, wedding bands, sleeve length, hem length, hose or no hose, sandals or closed shoes, low heels or high heels, ties or no ties, internet or no internet, okay to go to ballgames or no sporting events allowed, watching videos or DVD's okay or not allowed, okay to go roller skating or bowling or not allowed, okay to participate in sports as children/young people or not allowed, okay to play outside on Sunday or not allowed, okay to have a Fellowship hall attached to a church or eat in the church basement or not allowed, okay to fly or travel on Sunday or not allowed...to name a few. (by not allowed I mean someone believes it is wrong) If you were raised to believe that going for a walk on Sunday was wrong, you shouldn't have a Fellowship hall and internet was a sin but you go for a walk on Sunday afternoon, your CHM church has a Fellowship Hall and you have the internet...are you turning away from reproach and taking the way of the world? How is someone who feels that the dress standards of their parents or church they grew up in are not their standards from God any different than someone who feels that the lifestyle issues they live differently from their parents or the church they grew up in? You can add in there you were raised ties were a sin, sandals or your toes exposed were a sin and you had to wear your sleeves to your wrist but now your husband wears a tie, you wear open toed shoes and you wear your sleeves below your elbow but not to your wrist. Are you taking the way of the world? (by you, I mean anyone reading this)
    (continued below)

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  14. Part 3:
    To look around us and see people who believe differently from the way they were raised and decide that because they don't live their life just like they were taught by their parents or church that they turn away from reproach and take the way of the world is wrong, in my opinion. You might find it sad, you might strongly disagree but if we as Believers try to look around and measure everyone according to our own standards as to whether or not they are following God then we are standing in judgement. I heard one of our pastors say once that we all tend to look at everyone who is more conservative than ourselves as being "strict" and everyone who is less conservative than us as "liberal." When I thought about it I realized that it is exactly what I do and I've heard others confess they do to! I think every single one of us do, whether we realize it or not. It's not necessarily a bad thing if we aren't being judgemental or saying everyone to the left of us is a sinner, we just need to be aware that we do it - I think it helps us see ourselves more clearly.
    Growing up I heard the same scriptures you used, Laura, and there are a few more, as to why women shouldn't wear pants. Once I got old enough to study the Bible and search the scriptures myself, and as I attended a CHM Bible College and heard various Bible scholars speak on the subject it soon became apparent that somewhere along the line some preachers had turned a verse about distinction into a verse on women can't or shouldn't wear pants. As with most things I believe, I wanted to be able to answer questions soundly and Biblically about the way I dressed. Over time I realized that the Bible did not forbid women to wear any particular clothing AS LONG AS they were modest, feminine and weren't dressing to draw attention to themselves. Unlike anonymous it wasn't something I struggled with, I never lost a friend or family member (not that any of them didn't have anything to say about it!) and I don't have any hurts or anger surrounding my decision to wear pants.
    Since that time, I've heard some of our most well known, most highly respected Bible scholars in the CHM say, when asked, that they can not say that the Bible in either scripture or principal says it is wrong for a woman to wear pants but they think because it's been a long standing tradition in the CHM and because in our society skirts on women let everyone know immediately tht they are a woman. (Although just this past weekend I saw a young man in his 20's wearing a tutu, he was VERY comfortable in that tutu, it wasn't a joke and he isn't the first guy I've seen wearing a skirt) One man I heard speaking on the issue went on to say that if during his lifetime, in our culture or if he lived in a different culture where it was common, if men wore skirts and women wore pants then he would wear a skirt like the rest of the men - he believed that for us here in America, it should be because of culture and the tradition of the CHM that women should wear skirts.
    I found that to be very interesting to say the least, also a bit amusing as I was trying to picture this man in a skirt. "-) But needless to say, I realized that for those who have really studied the verses the conclusion that many come to is it's about distinction, not about pants.

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  15. Part 4:
    For me the decision to wear pants didn't happen until I was 100% sure that I understood what the Bible had to say, that my motives were pure and that I didn't feel a personal conviction to not wear them. I find them to be very comfortable, I do not wear men's pants, I very often wear skirts, dresses and jumpers. I still attend a conservative church and never wear pants to any church or school events since our children attend a conservative school. When picking out pants at the store and your goal is to be feminine and modest you'd be surprised at how quickly your selection goes down! It takes careful thought and attention to detail. I've never once tried to talk anyone into wearing pants or told anyone I thought they should - to tell you the truth I was hesitant to leave my opinion because I would never want someone who grew up like I did to read my words and think it was then okay for them! (not that I think my words would have that much sway on anyone but no one should do what I do because I do it)
    With everything in my life I want to be able to give a Biblical answer to others, and now my children, about why I do, or don't do, what I do or don't do. I can't say to someone "The Bible says for women to wear pants is wrong" and while tradition may be enough for some I can guarantee you it won't be enough for many of their daughters and grand daughters - history has proven that over and over. What some may see as many of our generation turning away from standards is very often instead our generation turning away from tradition and instead wanting to live our lives according to scriptures we believe and can explain clearly to others. And when our kids don't have clear scriptures and sound principles to stand on and grasp then they so often completely lose their way because they know that their parents, teachers and ministers are using snatch and grab verses to try to convince them it's God's word when in reality they just want to hold on to tradition and it just doesn't work.
    If you look across the CHM you see so many examples of people who measure up on the outside but hide behind that while in their spirit and attitude they act like the devil. You have ladies who measure up with the right attire but whose spirit and attitude is anything but modest. When rules and regulations are the measuring stick so strongly that things like personal relationship, character and integrity become secondary then we lose our young people by the handful just as we see happening.
    Modesty is HUGE, let me repeat, it's HUGE. I think God feels more strongly about it than many, many of the women and men in th CHM seem to grasp. I feel more strongly about modesty than some of the conservative people I go to church with and see from other churches I'm in! Many of the women who wouldn't ever wear pants are wearing shirts, blouses and/or skirts I would feel very immodest in. Why? Because they think as long as they are wearing a skirt or dress below their knees (which incidentally is where I wear mine, sitting or standing)and have a top on with sleeves below their elbow then they are modest. Over the years I've heard many, many sermons on skirts vs. pants but so very rarely have I heard a sermon on the principles of modesty and then we can't understand why our girls and young ladies aren't "buying it."
    (continued below)

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  16. Part 5 and last one:
    I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to be one of these people who believed one way and lived another, I think we do a great disservice to those around us but especially to our children when we do that. I'm not going to live one way in my church but then when I'm gone away on vacation where no one knows me I'll live another. If I'm wearing pants I'm not going to hide in a store because I see someone from my church who doesn't wear them. If I feel ashamed or guilty than for me, that's a sign that my decision isn't the right one. I live my life openly and my husband and I believe that by doing so we aren't confusing our kids with a double standard of living. Yes, I am respectful of the beliefs of others but wearing a skirt in some situations where I know everyone else is going to be - I don't need or want to always wear pants - but I'm not going to wear a skirt or a dress all the time because of tradition or because of a sign on a bathroom stall - not out of rebellion but because with every item in my closet I chose to wear what I wear based on Biblical standards first of being distinct, followed by modesty, followed by appropriateness for the situation followed by comfort.
    I've gone on long enough - it isn't something I can explain in a few short sentences but I hope that helps explain it a little more clearly how someone who grew up not wearing pants now does. You are free to ask me any questions and of course disagree with anything I have to say if you reply - I promise not to be offended. "-)

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  17. Oops, let me add one more thing along the line of distinction...I took a job outside of New York City when I was in my early 20's in an area where I knew asolutely no one. I could have literally done anything, gone anywhere, dressed anyway I wanted and no one would have known. Where I was working they didn't know a single person from "back home." Before I moved there I already knew what I believed and why and I continued to live the same way there that I had before I moved there and had been on my own. In my first week of living in that home I got a few questions about why I do this or why I do that. They knew NOTHING about the CHM or even what a Baptist or Nazarene or a Methodist was - they had no experience with anyone who believed even remotely like us in any way. Even though we didn't discuss religion at all or my beliefs in my interview (other than they asked if I smoke and/or drank and I said no) they knew immediately that there was something different about me. As we got to know each other very well over the next 8 years and they felt comfortable saying so told me they knew there was something different about me immediately, the only conclusion they could come to until they felt comfortable to ask more questions was that I must be a Mormon. "-) Even though I didn't look exactly like I was brought up there was no doubt in their mind that I wasn't typical, something was different and of course once they started asking questions I could explain what was different about me. Distinction is soooo much more than about clothes - yes our clothes should clearly, CLEARLY reflect that we are a women but it should be our clothes, our attitude, our actions, our character and the list goes on as to what sets us apart.

    As a little aside, one of the things I had noticed growing up is that many of the women in our CHM that were involved in leadership roles of either ministry or preaching very often had what was to me a distinct male appearance - even though they wore a dress or skirt. I often found that troubling as I grew older. Take away thier skirt and put a pair of pants on them, and you would have been hard pressed to know what gender they were - it was a combination of appearance, actions, attitude and even sometimes the way they spoke. I often wondered how they balanced that with "distinction" - as I grew older I felt they hid behind wearing a skirt or dress instead of trying to be more feminine in their appearance and actions. Just one of those things that has always puzzled me and one of those areas where I think we lose the principle because of the rule.

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  18. I am not going to get into this dress/pant issue. I was raised in an "ULTRA" conservative holiness home where what you wore stated that you were a Conser. Holiness person. Forget that there were issues of the heart that was sin that God hated. As long as you walked the walk, talked the talk & adding, prayed the prayer w/tears streaming, hooting & hollering, you were a Holy person. I attened a conservative holiness college & thankfully one of my Bible Professors talked frank w/us including bk. chapter & verse. It is a personal relationship w/God that matters. I do beleive a lady should look like a lady & be modest. I have friends who have changed what they used to be dress wise, but they still have the same sweet, Christ like spirit that they always had. Personally, I do not believe that a person is going to get to heaven for how they dress. It is what their relationship w/Christ is matters. To many of us get bound up by "standards" & "guidelines" that do not have black & white to back it up in the Bible.

    I do wear dresses/skirts. The only exception is when I'm in my 4 walls & it is cold. I do wear sweat pants to keep warm because I have health issues w/my legs hurting me all the time when I'm cold.

    I feel like our priority should be focused more on leading the lost to a personal relationship w/Christ than petty issues. Laura, I do admire you for bring up this issue and think it is good for each of us to examine ourselves and make sure that our relationship w/Christ is what it should be.

    Blessings!

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  19. Dear Anonymous,

    While you and I may not have ended up on exactly the same page, had I been surrounded by only what you describe,

    "what you wore stated that you were a Conser. Holiness person. Forget that there were issues of the heart that was sin that God hated. As long as you walked the walk, talked the talk & adding, prayed the prayer w/tears streaming, hooting & hollering, you were a Holy person..."

    I would probably have walked away as well.

    It makes me very sad that this has been the experience of so many people in the CHM, for I do believe there are truth nuggets in our heritage that are valuable and based in scripture.

    I pray we will meet in heaven some day. :)

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  20. Laura, I left a post on facebook but thought I would leave one here too.
    While I do not know who anonymous #1 is I as well as my husband and children have been "treated" to some of the same treatment from the chm. We have had family shun us and "friends" have nothing more to do with us.For people to claim "perfect salvation" they tend to overlook the kindness part of being a Christian or so it seems. I agree with you that while the chm has a "nugget of truth" and we don't need to throw it all out there is so much taken out of context from scripture. God is so faithful to guide but we have to be guidable. I feel there is so much "fear and yes, bondage " in chm that many will not take the time to study it all out for themselves.
    The Bible never says we are to bear a reproach because of the way we look on the outside. Being a Christian is in and of it self a reproach to the world.Another thought if we are to be a reproach as some have posted then why aren't the men also called to bear a reproach for God?
    Just some more thoughts on this. By the way Mary Ellen I thought you put it well:)

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  21. Laura,
    Outside of this blog, I do not know you either.


    The unkindness I spoke of is not something I experienced while in the chm. This is something that I have experienced since then. There doesn’t seem to be much acceptance for women who decide to wear pants – or other chm traditions (makeup, jewelry). I have seen it all of my life. Those who change these things are labeled as “worldly”.
    You say “Doing and justifying what we naturally want to do is almost as easy as breathing”. I agree. What is “natural” is different for each person. For me, my personality tends to be a people pleaser. That comes very naturally for me – to the point where it is more important to focus others’ expectations than to allow God to mold me the way he chooses. I need my focus to be on him – and not others around me. He needs and wants to be in complete control of my life.

    I do believe that the chm has spent too much time focusing on the personal convictions – rather than absolutes. PERSONAL convictions have made there way into church manuals. People have been judged by others by others’ personal convictions. I do not see these things in black and white. However, I do not believe it is wrong for one to have personal convictions. I am not condemning anyone for following their personal walk with God. But, I do believe they are personal. I have no desire to talk someone into wearing pants. I have never and would never feel the need to do so. I cannot ever say that I have struggled with wanting to please the world. As I stated earlier, I went to public school. I was always different. I was used to that. They weren’t my friends – they were only acquaintances. It was pleasing the church people that was a problem for me.

    Let me explain this statement : “I could not give a true answer for not wearing pants – as is culturally acceptable.” I believe that we do need to answer to the world. (1 Peter 3:14-16) I do not believe the world’s “foolishness” should excuse anyone from sharing something that seems to be of such importance –especially when asked by the world. I also believe that parents have a huge responsibility to explain to their children these beliefs. I simply cannot point my child (or anyone else) to any verse in the Bible that says that pants on a woman are a sin.

    In my mind, relationships should be based on something much deeper than outward appearance. That seems awfully shallow. So, it has become evident that those were not very meaningful relationships. I do need to say that although I do not a relationship with some of my friends from the chm…there are still some that have stood beside me even through my change.

    I am striving to live for Jesus – WHATEVER that means for me. I do not seek the approval of men – in the world or church organizations. As you stated “the Bible clearly communicates the pitfalls of such”. I believe being bound by people’s approval either way is harmful.
    I hope I have made myself clear. Thanks!

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  22. Mary Ellen, I am not ignoring your comments. There is just so much here, it'll take me time to even read it all. :)

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  23. I didn't think you were ignoring me, I said a lot, take your time. "-)

    (I'm realizing this evening, because of private messages I'm getting on Facebook, that there are a LOT of people reading your two blogs and all of the comments, I had no idea. This is definitely a topic that interests a lot of people and I admire your courage in being willing to post about it and your further willingness to discuss it.)

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  24. Laura,
    I appreciate your sinsitivity to the issue I stated as Assom. #2. Let me clear where I do stand w/my relationship w/Christ. I have not strayed from my upbring. I do have a personal relationship w/Christ & it is my upmost desire to make heaven my home. There are some "truth nuggets" as you call them, from the good part of my heritage that I have done my best to pass on to my children.
    While talking to my husband & adult daughter about this blog he brought up the scripture of Paul in the NT about if something offends another person, then cut it off. We talked that if someone would be hindered or caused to stray because of our dress/skirt issue then we will have to answer for it. I want my life so to exhault Christ that others will know that I am a Christian and have a close relationship w/Him & not because of how I look, talk or act. If Christ is the center of my life then all else will fall in accordance w/His teaching.

    I trust this has cleared up what I may not have stated in my earlier post & where I stand spiritually.

    Blessings

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  25. In my opinion, the entire "pants vs skirts/dresses" issue is amoral. As many have already stated, women are not distinguished from men just because they don't wear pants. I wear pants every day - never been mistaken for a man. I do not wear pants to please "the world", I wear them because honestly, for my day-to-day activities pants are more appropriate, modest, and comfortable than any skirt or dress. And once again, I do not believe that wearing pants is a moral issue at all. I have never, not once in my lifetime, been told by God that I should not wear pants. I have a personal relationship with Him that is not affected by the articles of clothing I chose to wear each day (so long as they are “modest” – which is another relative term that a each Christian must work out with God INDIVIDUALLY). Christianity and TRUE holiness is so much more than what I wear, what I do with my hair, and whether or not I wear makeup and jewelry. Yes, we must die daily to ourselves and our sinful nature – but I do not believe that Paul was talking about dying daily to our desire to wear pants. To be completely honest, that is a humorous interpretation to me because I firmly believe that Paul was talking about issues MUCH deeper than our articles of clothing. But I think it’s easier, yes much easier, to focus your energy on surface rules rather than deeper matters of the heart and mind.

    Deut. 22:5 says nothing about pants. It's all about how you interpret it. To me, this verse is teaching against cross-dressing, which is a separate issue from "pants vs skirts". Yes, back then everyone wore robes - so how were women distinguished from men? How were they supposed to abide by this law if they all wore very similar clothing? Maybe the women should have started wearing pants so that they could be distinguished from the men. I believe this was a teaching about cross-dressing, that is, trying to pass yourself off as a man (or man pass himself off as a woman). This is a much deeper issue than an article of clothing, this is an issue of the heart and mind.

    Also, if you read a few verses down in Deut. 22, it says not to plow with an ox and donkey together, and not to wear garments of mixed fabrics - do you take those literally in today's culture? If you go outside and plow with an ox and donkey are you sinning and turning against God's ways? No, because those laws were practical applications to THAT generation in THAT time. Those particular laws are not spiritual laws. But, I think if you’re going to pull out one verse and “run with it” then you need to be taking every other verse just as literally and be putting them into practice as well.

    I have also known quite a few CHM girls and women who wear "koolots" which are pants that appear to be skirts until you see them up close. Or they wear sweatpants around the house. In my opinion, if they believe that wearing pants is wrong - then that is hypocritical thinking. If a woman honestly believes that wearing pants is a sin, then why would she ever be wearing them - at home or not? Honestly, I get very tired of the judgmental attitudes about wearing pants by women who wear pants themselves in contexts that THEY (not God) have deemed "not a sin". To me, this just reinforces the fact that the "pants vs skirts" issue is a MAN-MADE law that in my experiences, CHM people tend to be hypocritical about. I think the bottom line is, people should not judge others against something that (a) is not a Biblical law (unless of course, you take it out of context, which in my experience, CHM love to do) and (b) you do it yourself.

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  26. I am purposely commenting before reading the many comments on these posts. Let me say that I appreciate you addressing this subject. And from what I have read (part 1 & 2) I am pleased with your position. From what I understand you are handling this in a mature, Biblical, and well-written way. Heather and I will look forward to reading part 3, that is, I hope that there will be a part 3. My family and I are missionaries to Colombia. Having been working here for only about 5 years, we still have a lot to learn. But throughout this learning process, time after time we have been delighted by different things that God has done with the new Christians here. I will never forget an elderly lady who after being born again testified that she used to be a sick, mean, angry old woman. Now God has taken given her love for everyone, joy, and has even healed her body. This is only one way we are seeing the gospel change them. Different new Christians have told us that God wants them to change in other ways too. One lady after a message on Pentecost went home and while crying searched through her house to find and throw away all her pants. Pants were never mentioned in that message on full surrender to God; she said that God wanted her to dress differently. A few weeks ago one young lady of 19 who has been attending our church told me that God showed her both in a dream and in her Bible reading that she should never where pants again. She told me that “from this date on, I will now dress as a Christian lady.” These are their words, not mine, of how God is leading them. Different times, we have thought that it is sadly ironic that these new believers are passing old Christians on this “highway of holiness” but going opposite directions. There are three things that I often see in the lives of those trading in the skirt and other important things. I do not see these three characteristics in these same new Christians who are happy to reflect in their appearance what is in their heart. I will not go into these three points (not original with me, but Oswald Chambers) but if you are interested in reading what they are I posted it here. http://dickinsonjourney.blogspot.com/2011/05/three-dangerous-things-which-bring.html
    May God keep us sensitive to his desire for our lives. Keep posting to make us think and to seek to please God. We appreciate your family.
    Phillip

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  27. Philip - I have no doubt that God gives personal convictions to people, I have been personally convicted myself and there are some things I used to do that I no longer do because I very clearly felt God's leadership in that area of my life.

    I don't believe anyone is trying to say that God will never tell a woman she shouldn't wear pants - we have no idea why God tells people to do some of the things He does and we don't need to know. What He may tell someone else is none of my business and none of my concern.

    Just because God tells 150 women in a personal way that He does not want them to wear pants does not mean that He is saying it's a sin for any woman to wear pants. We are not to use other people's personal experiences for our guide for our own personal convictions in any area of our life - we are to use the Bible, our road map, the words from God for every single human on the face of our earth today.

    With all due respect, it's example like you've used of people who have had personal convictions (they feel) from God as examples of why all women are do something are very harmful. Those women may have felt from God exactly what they feel they did, those women may feel that they should no longer wear pants because they see missionaries who are bringing them the Gospel and none of the women wear pants - that's between them and God. If for any reason a woman decides she is never wearing pants again, even if she is only doing it because she just wants to, it isn't wrong for her to wear only skirts and dresses so even if someone is mistake in what they feel is their personal conviction, I don't believe they are doing any harm to themselves or anyone else.
    (continued below)

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  28. (Cont. to Philip)
    The problem arises when someone says they have a personal conviction or they know of someone who had one and then use that as the reason why all Believers are to do something. While I'm sure there are some ministers/teachers who have used scripture verses to teach something they really do believe God is saying (such as those who believe the Bible teaches women are not to wear pants) because they've never studied the passage of scripture enough for themselves to find out, and there are a few who will still come to that conclusion because that is going to be the way they interpret it, there are also plenty of ministers/teachers who preach that women are not to wear pants (or pick any number of other things) based on THEIR personal convictions and NOT on God's word.

    Over the years in the CHM this has caused so much pain, confusion, heartache, hurt, anger, etc. As you read through the comments it's coming through loud and clear. It isn't something that has only happened in the past, it is still happening..even if the crowd being spoken to is quickly dwindling.

    You said, "Different times, we have thought that it is sadly ironic that these new believers are passing old Christians on this “highway of holiness” but going opposite directions."

    Unless I'm misunderstanding my Bible, it clearly says that only God can see our heart, only He knows which direction we are heading in our walk with Him - only God knows where on our journey each of His children are, I'm talking about those who are endeavoring to walk to with God, not those who have willfully turned their back on God and are no longer serving Him.

    If you say "old Christians," as in backsliders, who are disobeying God's clear commandments in scripture and are lying, cheating, fornicating, etc. then they aren't Christians, they are backsliders.

    If by old Christians you mean those who have been serving Christ for many years, which is how I think you were using the term, then who are you to say that someone is going in the opposite direction of a new Believer?

    To you, Laura and everyone else who reads this or who has commented:
    The biggest problem most of those who are leaving comments as anonymous and for a few of us who are leaving our names have with this entire discussion is that women wearing pants has been made into a SIN ISSUE down through the years...not a personal conviction but a SIN ISSUE. It has been preached and is being preached that for any woman to wear pants it....is....a...sin....period.

    When you wade through all the words, and for some all the hurt and pain in their words, what those of us who do wear pants but we are also serving Christ wholeheartedly are just trying to say is we feel that for a woman to wear modest, feminine pants is not a sin and it is discouraging, disheartening, and very sad to see those who are supposed to be fellow Believers condemning those of us who do - if are a Christian woman and you don't wear pants it doesn't make you a better Christian, it doesn't make you more spiritual it makes you a Christian woman who doesn't wear pants either because she feels God's word teaches that, because she feels it's a personal conviction or just because she choses not to.

    I find it incredibly sad that this is such a huge issue, women wearing pants of all things, that there are so many who can only feel free to comment as "anonymous" - what does that tell you about the CHM as a whole? It tells a lot.

    This one issue has been been such a huge issue in the CHM that there are now literally dozens and dozens, if not a couple of hundred, people reading these comments and discussing this issue on this blog, on various walls on FB, thru private messages, emails and in phone conversations.

    I don't know what that says to anyone else but boy oh boy does that say a whole lot to me!

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  29. Someone sent me this link in the last few minutes - after reading it, I am posting it here as it is very apparent that the writer has studied and written on this "issue" from a Biblical, cultural and historical viewpoint.

    I am posting it because I think it might be very helpful to some of those who are reading along on these comments to read something from that viewpoint and because I think the writer says far better than I what the Bible does, or doesn't, have to say on this issue.

    http://www.actseighteen.com/articles/women-pants.htm

    Again though, don't take that writers word for it - search and study the scriptures yourselves.

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  30. FYI: I have posted a new post in response to this original post and ensuing discussion.
    Blessings to all.
    Laura

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